Archive: June 28th, 2010

Mets Game 76: Loss to Marlins

Marlins 10 Mets 3

Rumor has it that someone used up all of R.A. Dickey’s “hair tonic“.

Those too young to know what I’m talking about, switch the remote to Turner Classic Movies every once in a while.

Hiram Bithorn Stadium was more like Homerun Ball-hit Stadium, as leather-covered spheres flew over the fence in right-center at a rate that rivals The House That Steinbrenner Built.

Unfortunately for the Mets, it was the Fish who took advantage of the jet stream.

Game Notes

R.A. Dickey finally proved mortal, allowing 5 runs on 5 hits in 5 innings, blemishing his once-perfect record. Though it was the second time the Marlins saw him, I’m not so sure familiarity was his undoing as much as his lack of command. To me, his release point looked to be inconsistent and slightly different from what I’ve seen from him in previous starts; it appeared that he was opening a hair too early and dragging his arm just a bit — enough to move his release point a few inches higher, earlier, and to the right of where he’s been in the past. As a result — and possibly also due to crosswinds — his knuckler was moving uncharacteristically in toward the RH batters and up. That’s his “hard” knuckler, and the one he’s been using to get strikes. Unable to get ahead with that one, he was unable to properly set up the slower “floater”, which tends to be more unpredictable and generally used as an “out” pitch. Instead, he was aiming the slow one to get more plate — i.e., trying to throw strikes with it — and I *think* that was the one that was getting hit hard.

The Mets bullpen wasn’t much more effective. Fernando Nieve and Ryota “Rocket Man” Igarashi allowed another five runs, including three gopher balls. Igarashi may not be the man they think he is at home in Japan; he’s burning up his fuse out here alone in the western world.

Though the balls flew off the bats of Marlins with ease, Jason Bay was the only Met with homeruns to please. He hit two moon shots, which drove in all three runs. The two homers he hit in this contest were equal to half the amount he hit in the previous 75 games combined. David Wright also had two hits, but they were not of the four-bag variety.

Opposing pitcher Ricky Nolasco not only shut down the Mets’ offense, he also blasted a 400-foot double to the centerfield wall. Nolasco, by the way, is a terrible hitter — but he even he can hit a hanging knuckleball.

Ruben Tejada’s 10-game hitting streak came to an end. Somewhere, the ghost of Wee Willie Keeler expresses a relieved sigh — while Pete Rose collects on a low-risk bet.

The Braves beat the Nats, so the Mets lose a full game in the standings — though, they still have sole possession of second place.

For those wondering, the Mets are now 5-5 in their last 10 games. Somehow, it doesn’t feel that way, does it?

Next Mets Game

The Mets remain in Puerto Rico to play the Marlins again on Tuesday night at 7:10 PM. Hisanori Takahashi faces Nate Robertson.

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June 28: PM Mets Links, Puerto Rico Preview & Open Thread

MetsBlog – The weather forecast for the upcoming Mets-Marlin series: Rainy with a chance of rain, with intermittent thundershowers and periods of RAIN.

MetsToday – As of this writing, Mets fans seem to favor bringing in Cliff Lee over Ted Lilly, by a 2-to-1 margin. Have you voted?

ESPN New York – Jenrry Mejia left yesterday’s start in Binghamton with an arm injury. Adam Rubin is now reporting the injury is a posterior cuff strain in his throwing shoulder. No word on his recovery timetable.

Amazin’ Avenue – A full farm system report.

TONIGHT’S GAME

The Mets (43-32) travel to Hiram Bithorn Stadium in Puerto Rico to take on the Florida Marlins (35-40). R.A. Dickey (6-0, 2.33) will face Ricky Nolasco (6-6, 4.92). For a scouting report on Nolasco, visit Long Live Shea Stadium.

Check out Adam Rubin’s series preview over at ESPN New York. Based on the pitcher-vs-hitter stats for the probable starters, it looks like we could see some big offense in Puerto Rico, along with all the rain.

Discuss…

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Poll: Cliff Lee or Ted Lilly?

Should the Mets Trade for Cliff Lee or Ted Lilly?

  • Cliff Lee (64%, 284 Votes)
  • Ted Lilly (25%, 111 Votes)
  • Neither. Keep Takahashi and Dickey in the Rotation. (7%, 32 Votes)
  • None of the Above. (3%, 14 Votes)

Total Voters: 441

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Joel Sherman is reporting that the Mets have interest in Cliff Lee and would not require a a negotiating window to extend his contract. In other words, the Mets would be renting Lee, most likely for Jenrry Mejia and Angel Pagan.

And even if the Mets can outbid other suitors, such as the Twins, for Lee, it would still be up to Mets ownership to approve giving up prospects for a rental and agree to add a nice bit of payroll. Doubts persist within the organization whether the Wilpons really will accept those terms. (NY Post via MetsParadise)

Sherman also indicates the Mets may have interest in Cubs lefty Ted Lilly. Brandon Lee at MetsParadise, explains why Lilly could be an attractive alternative:

Lilly is owed $12M this season, which is the finally year of his contract. After this season he would most likely become a Type A free agent, so if the Mets offer him arbitration, they could get top drafts pick if he signs elsewhere. (MetsParadise)

So who should the Mets go after? Let’s break it down:

Cliff Lee
Age: 31
Record: 6-3
ERA: 2.39
WHIP: 0.91
K/IP: 76/86.2

Ted Lilly
Age: 34
Record: 2-6
ERA: 3.28
WHIP: 1.07
K/IP: 56/79.2

Obviously, Lee is putting up better numbers, but Lilly should come cheaper, at least in terms of trading young talent. And if Lilly can consistently get the Mets to the seventh inning with a lead, he may allow the Mets to make a credible playoff run without mortgaging the future.

Fun Fact: According to ESPN, Lilly’s full name is Theodore Roosevelt Lilly. That MIGHT rival Milton Bradley and Coco Crisp as the best name in Major League Baseball.

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Weird: Orosco Jr. and Backman Jr. Playing on Same Minor League Team

Wally Backman Jr. (left) and Jesse Orosco Jr. (right)

The Tucson Toros of the independent California League have signed reliever Jesse Orosco Jr. Orosco Jr. is the son of former Mets reliever Jesse Orosco, obviously. He is a right-handed reliever, which seems kind of weird, but that’s not the point.

The point is, Orosco Jr. will be joining Wally Backman Jr. on the Toros roster. Backman Jr. is the team’s third baseman. It seems there could be a Mets fan in the Tucson Toros front office.

Orosco was cut by the independent Lake Erie Crushers earlier this month, and returned home to San Diego. A Toros representative called Monday to ask Orosco Jr. if he was interested in joining the team.

“My dad told me, ‘Hey, Wally’s son is on your team,'” he said. “I thought, ‘Cool.’ With all the stuff they do with the Mets, bringing players back, it was surprising that I never met him.”

Backman Jr. was drafted by the Texas Rangers in 2004 and spent four seasons in their system. He plays infield, like his dad – a 14-year big-leaguer – but stands 5 inches taller.

Wally Jr. was nine months old when the Mets won the 1986 Series. Jesse Jr. was born nine months afterward.

Still, the two players find some inspiration in their fathers’ crowning moments.

“I go back and look at the tapes to see the way he played,” said Backman, who scored the winning run Saturday. “I try to take the heart, hustle and intensity that he brought onto the field every time I go out there.” (Arizona Daily Star)

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June 28: Monday Morning Mets Links

The Mets are in Puerto Rico to start a three-game series against the Florida Marlins. Here are your Monday morning Mets links:

NJ.com – Angel Pagan and Pedro Feliciano are excited to play in front of family and friends in Puerto Rico.

OnTheBlack – Kerel Cooper is very concerned about the recent struggles of Johan Santana. Who isn’t?

Hot Foot Blog – Andrew Beaton doesn’t seem too concerned about Johan Santana. That makes one. Anyone else?

The Daily Stache – Mathias Kook Ganci says the Mets are here to stay.

NY Daily News – It doesn’t look like Carlos Beltran will join the Mets in Puerto Rico.

MetsBlog – Various reports indicate Bobby Valentine will not be the next manager of the Marlins. Nothing official yet…

Mets Police – Darryl Strawberry, Doc Gooden, Frank Cashen and Davey Johnson will be inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame on July 31. You can attend the pre-game charity reception for a tax-deductible donation of $325.

(Via John Fitzgerald): And since most of you have seen the video of Wally Backman’s epic ejection in the South Coast League from a few years back, here is Wally’s explanation of what went down. The interview happened within minutes of the incident, disproving all the reports that Backman was in a blind rage. It’s also important to note that the umpire was suspended and fined for his actions on the field and Backman was not.

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Mets Game 75: Win Over Twins

Mets 6 Twins 0

The Mets complete interleague play in dominant fashion.

By shutting out the Twins, the Mets finish the season with a 13-5 record in interleague play. Let’s hope they play one more series against an American League team before the end of 2010.

Game Notes

Jon Niese shut out the Twins through 6 innings, allowing 4 hits and 3 walks, striking out 5 in a 104-pitch effort. As is usually the case, he had the slider / slurve / cutter working but wasn’t getting the really sharp bite and command of the curve. It’s generally one or the other, rarely both, and that’s because of his arm angle. When he comes more over the top, the curve has the bite and he can keep it in the strike zone, but the cutter / slider stays flat. When he uses more of a three-quarter angle, he gets better bite on the slider but the curve isn’t quite as sharp as usual. The good news is, his curve didn’t look bad — it was just a little lacking in bite. That’s good news because it appears as though he’s getting close to finding an arm angle that will work for both pitches.

David Wright, Jeff Francoeur, and Ike Davis were the stars of the game — each hit a homer and together they combined for 5 RBI and 4 runs scored.

Jesus Feliciano also scored a run and had 3 hits in 5 ABs. No one has missed Angel Pagan while Feliciano has filled in — much like, no one has missed Carlos Beltran while Pagan has filled in.

Ruben Tejada extended his hitting streak to 10 games. He is only 34 games short of the single-season NL record of 44 held by Pete Rose and Wee Willie Keeler.

Next Mets Game

The Mets go back to playing the National League on Monday in Puerto Rico, as R.A. “Mr. Perfect” Dickey faces Ricky “Mr. .500” Nolasco. Game time is 7:10 PM.

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